Well, you know my view on the matter, but this was one of the write-ups in response to the passing of Bill 156.
The comment at the bottom is mine, but it's a condensed version as I was only allowed 750 characters, including spaces. So, not enough space to say my piece. Below is a longer version. It was originally intended as a letter to the editor (which I would then have to cut down to 320 words), but the article itself wasn't published offline, therefore I decided not to bother submitting.
Here is the long-winded version:
While I appreciate the reporter trying to provide a balanced view, here are some key points to consider.
Two themes in particular I’ve seen repeatedly put forth by proponents of the ag-gag law concern safety and disease. Farmers, apparently, are highly worried about safety. But safety of what? Their livelihood? Their reputation? That seems probable enough. Animals themselves though? That’s a bit dubious as they’re raised a) for profit, and b) to be killed, so I don’t think animals themselves will be “safe” for too long.
As for personal threats by trespassers, where are the statistics to back up this claim? How many farmers have actually been harmed or killed? And given the recent death (viewed as intentional by some) of activist Regan Russell, I would argue that activists may have more to fear from farmers and truckers than vice versa.
But back to stats. How many incidents of trespassing on Ontario family farms were actually reported to police in the last few years? How many charges were laid? How many convictions resulted? In other words, how have trespassers proven to be a real safety risk? Hmm, I see.
Another aspect often cited is that activist trespassing brings disease. But, as we know from prior zoonotic viruses like bird and swine flu, disease is already a part of farming because of the very practices that activists are trying to make public. The current Covid-19 pandemic itself underscores how infectious disease is a byproduct of farming and marketing animals.
And if things have changed considerably since 1989 as claimed by Mr. Witteveen, then why is it still considered reasonable to transport pigs, for example, without food, water, or rest for 28 hours? How is this humane? Why are certain practices, such as the killing of all male chicks, and the slamming of piglets into concrete walls, still considered both acceptable and standard?
Why are standard farming practices exempt from cruelty laws in the first place? That, in and of itself, makes the so-called tough anti-cruelty legislation of PAWS null and void, especially since the only duty to report in the PAWS Act lies with veterinarians, not employees. This makes Ernie Hardeman’s statement that nothing prevents employees from reporting animal abuse disingenuous at best.
The reality is that most animal farming industries would have died a natural death anyway were it not for being continually propped up by government bailouts. And now with Bill 156 we have a government turning an even blinder eye to industry promoted-and-protected cruelty by allowing animal agriculture to police itself.
No, the idea that this bill is balanced is so off-kilter it’d be funny if it weren’t so damn sad.
For anyone interested in the true and harrowing dangers of the bill I would suggest looking at the comprehensive brief submitted by Animal Justice: